Conference 2014

The 21st International THOMAS HARDY
Conference & Festival

Dorchester 26th July – 2nd August 2014


Leading Hardy Scholars, Poetry Readings, Lectures, Seminars.
Receptions, Suppers, Tastings, New Writing from Wessex, Quiz.
Guided Walks, Coach Tours, Drama, Dance and Musical Performances.
Book Launches, Exhibitions, Antiquarian Book Fair, Awards.

The 21st International Thomas Hardy Conference and Festival is back to its usual time and this year promises something for everyone. The Conference, which is directed by Dr Jane Thomas, Reader in English at the University of Hull, falls in the centenary of the start of the First World War (4th August, 1914) which led Hardy to declare that he had ‘lost all belief in the gradual ennoblement of man’.   Furthermore ‘he would probably not have ended The Dynasts as he did end it if he could have foreseen what was going to happen within a few years’ (Life and Work: 368).

2014 is also the centenary of the publication of Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries which featured the magisterial ‘Poems of 1912-13’ inspired by the sudden death of his first wife Emma.

The Conference opens with a dinner and guest speaker and offers an eclectic and exciting lecture programme seasoned with musical and dramatic entertainments, poetry readings, a creative writing workshop, excursions and walks plus talks and seminars.

The strong academic agenda of invited speakers includes John Paul Riquelme, Professor of English at Boston University (USA) on ‘Hardy’s Gothic’; Prof Tim Kendall (Exeter University) on ‘Hardy and War’; Dr Mary Rimmer (University of New Brunswick) on ‘Hardy’s Culture Maps’ and  Dr Tony Fincham on ‘The Village Atheist and the Village Idiots’. Other invited speakers include Prof Christopher Ricks (Warren Professor of the Humanities and Co-Director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University), Dr Marion Thain (Reader at Sheffield and expert in fin de siècle poetry), Helen Gibson (Curator of the Thomas Hardy Collection at the Dorchester County Museum) and the MP Alan Johnson.
Our panel sessions will feature established, new and independent scholars of Hardy’s life and work from Great Britain and across the world, with dedicated sessions on Hardy and War, and International Perspectives on Hardy’s Life and Work (see Call for Papers ). There will also be two postgraduate seminars to allow you to catch up on the best of the new generation of Hardy scholars. The Creative Writing Workshop will be led by the celebrated landscape poet John Wedgwood Clarke who will also be reading from his recent collection Ghost Pot which was praised by Carol Rumens, Penelope Shuttle and Bernard O’Donoghue.


Download Programme

Conference Panels & Papers

Hardship Bursaries Form